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December 2009/January 2010 – Web Exclusive

Racing for the Cure

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a world leader in the fight against cancer.

Texas charity leads the fight against breast cancer

by Tracey Lamphere

Runners line up for the 2009 Texarkana Race for the Cure.

In 1980, a woman named Nancy Goodman Brinker made a promise to her dying sister – and changed history.

The promise was to take up the fight against the breast cancer that took Susan Komen’s life. And she kept her promise in spectacular fashion.

Since Brinker founded it in 1982, the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure has become a world leader in the fight against the disease, raising and investing $1.5 billion for breast cancer research and education. The organization has committed itself to investing an additional $2 billion by 2017 to help eradicate the disease.

At the heart of the organization’s awareness building and fundraising efforts are its Race for the Cure events, charity races that attract more than 1.5 million participants annually.

Steps Across Texas

Texas is home to 13 Susan G. Komen affiliate offices, including Houston’s, the world’s largest. Their Race for the Cure events raise millions of dollars annually, with at least 75 percent of the net income spent in their own service areas.

In 2008, the Dallas affiliate’s Race for the Cure and other events raised more than $2 million, $1.8 million of which was used to provide screening, treatment and educational programs to the underserved population in Dallas County. The Dallas Race, which began in 1983 with 800 participants, has grown to 25,000 runners annually.

The Houston Komen affiliate serves a seven-county area and is on track to award $3 million in grants in 2009. Since its inception in 1990, it has provided more than $19 grants in its area. Its race attracts more than 30,000 runners each year.

Race for Dollars

One hundred-thirty Susan G. Komen affiliate offices around the world hold Race for the Cure events each year. Three-quarters of the revenue raised remains in the community the affiliate serves. The races generated nearly $745 million between 2003 and 2008.

Race for the Cure Revenues

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When Texarkana’s affiliate opened in 1998, it was the smallest city approved as a race site. But the event has grown steadily, from 3,300 participants in 1998 to 8,200 in 2008.

“Our focus on race day is making it about the survivors,” says Terrie Arnold, executive director for the Texarkana Komen affiliate. The proceeds go in part to a program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that provides mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women.

In 2009, Texarkana’s affiliate has raised about $400,000, down by $22,000 from the previous year, for breast cancer education and screening programs. Arnold says the economic slump has hurt some area businesses that support the charity.

In addition to the race, the Texarkana affiliate supports a local Girl Scouts mother-daughter day, in an effort to raise awareness about the disease among young women.

“More and more people are being touched by breast cancer,” Arnold says. FN

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